In this series we review new products and services to help you sort the best buys from those that do not offer value for money.
Price: Rs 90,000 (approx)
GOOD DEAL: Packed with the high-end Quad Core i7 Intel configuration with 16 GB RAM and ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics processor, the new Apple iMac promises to be the fastest computer yet. It also comes with a new wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse, the world’s first multi-touch, smart mouse.
Price: Rs 49 a month (annual plan)
GOOD DEAL: Would you like to receive e-mails on your cell phone, never mind that it is not GPRS-enabled? Just register on this Website and start receiving e-mails, twitters, Orkut scraps, Facebook messages, and more, as SMSes compressed to 480 characters using the modern chat lingo. While push e-mail isn’t a new concept, Jaamun scores on the value-for-money scale; its competitors, such as Email2SMS, charge Rs 85 per month, excluding taxes.
Price: Rs 5,800 onwards
GOOD DEAL: Not only does this new Microsoft offering overcome all the shortcomings of its previous operating systems— inability to uninstall corrupt components, annoying user control account, painfully slow to install heavy applications and games—it is about 17% cheaper than Vista.
Product: Belkin N52TE
Price: Rs 4,550
This is a classic example of marketing hype. The N52TE gaming device comes with a supposedly improved keypad that is mechanically better than the N52, the cult so far. It also has add-ons like backlighting and superior customisation software. However, given that the basic shape has not been upgraded, is it worth shelling out Rs 3,000 more for it? The N52 costs $30 (around Rs 1,500).
Product: Premier Rio
Price: Rs 5.25 lakh (base model)
Here’s the automotive oxymoron for the month—‘compact SUV’. That is how the Premier Rio is marketing itself. The concept hopes to cash in on the global trend for crossover vehicles, dictated largely by the economics of maintaining a full-sized vehicle. But given that you can get a true-blue, fuel-efficient SUV like Mahindra Bolero for about Rs 1 lakh less, this may not be the best comeback for Premier.
Price: Rs 74,990
The product’s USP is impressive enough—a fullfledged 40-inch flat panel television bundled with a motherboard and all the functions of a desktop PC. Though the concept is innovative on paper, it will have to be refined further to appeal to consumers. As things stand, the TV lacks an audio punch and a UPS back-up. Besides, the wireless keyboard leaves a lot to be desired as the trackball and keys are slow to respond.
Product: Skullcandy Lowrider
Price: Rs 1,800
The headphone’s sole claim to fame is that actor Ranbir Kapoor flaunted it in the recent Bollywood blockbuster Wake Up Sid. However, unless you are a wannabe, it is not worth investing in a pair that does not deliver on sound quality. The ultra portability promised by the foldable headset is another negative as it is prone to snap at the slightest application of force. If you are looking for a good buy in this price bracket, go for the Sennheiser HD 201, which costs Rs 200 or so more.
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